Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Olive Branch Rejected - Replaced by Foot In Mouth
The council meeting on October 18th, one which again found Mayor Pro Tem Gary Monahan absent, held few surprises - unfortunately.
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During the "council member comments" portion of the meeting Councilwoman Katrina Foley took the high road as she
attempted to make peace with Mayor Allan Mansoor and Councilman Eric Bever when she apologized - unnecessarily, in my opinion
- for whatever part she might have played in the recent tensions on the dais. She suggested the council consider a retreat
- a quiet place where they all could "get to know each other", to help them work more effectively in the future.
That suggestion was rejected out of hand by Mayor Mansoor, who stated that he didn't think there was tension, and felt the
public forum was a satisfactory venue for any discussions they might have. Bever, during his allotted time, took that opportunity
to defend his recent allegations against Foley, stubbornly rejecting the city attorney's opinion that no law had been broken.
In a bizarre moment, he first denied there had been allegations, then went on to reiterate those very charges!
Later, an impasse was reached when Foley nominated former Mayor Linda Dixon to fill the role of Mayor Pro Tem, the abandonment
of which was recently announced by Monahan. There was no second. Then Mansoor nominated his buddy, Bever, for the position
- citing his "leadership" on the Westside overlay issue as a good reason for him to be considered. That nomination
also received no second, so the issue was put off until Monahan is available to break the tie.
You might recall that Bever put forward the minority view from the report prepared by the Westside Redevelopment Oversight
Committee, casting aside the consensus reached by those 40 volunteers after a year of analysis, discussion and negotiation.
Instead, he chose to placate a small, vocal cadre of his Westside supporters rather than consider the recommendations of
the committee as a whole. Apparently Mansoor and Bever define "leadership" as pandering to a narrowly focused minority
view, then jamming it down our throats.
Another example of this "style" was Bever's refusal to nominate two of the three candidates nominated for openings
on the Cultural Arts Committee, even though all three met the qualifications. His narrow view was that two of the three were
"only" involved in dance, not the "visual arts" that he preferred. He indicated that he didn't want to
inject diverse viewpoints in a group that "was just beginning to make progress". I guess that means they were finally
coming around to his point of view. Fortunately, the remaining three council members present exercised better judgment and
appointed all three candidates in a 3-1 vote - Bever voted no. His reluctance to accept diverse viewpoints is no surprise
to me - he's demonstrated this characteristic ever since his election last year.
Bever polished off the evening by, in a last second move reminiscent of USC's win over Notre Dame last weekend, managing to
save his streak of meetings in which he utters a bonehead statement. At the very end, when City Manager Allan Roeder announced
that he would celebrate his twentieth year as City Manager next week and expressed his gratitude for the chance to serve the
city, Bever closed the proceedings by wondering out loud to Mansoor whether this milestone qualified as a "Pink Belly"
opportunity! Does he not realize that he doesn't have to necessarily say every single thought that runs through his head?
Monday, October 17, 2005
After Gary Monahan dropped a bombshell a couple weeks ago when he announced his intent to step down as Mayor Pro Tem, there
has been much speculation about who might be selected to fill that role.
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In less contentious times there would be a couple obvious choices for this mostly ceremonial position. Councilwoman and former
mayor Linda Dixon has experience on the dais and might be a good choice. Councilwoman Katrina Foley has very significant
experience on the Planning Commission - including a term as Chairperson - has demonstrated a clear grasp of most issues and
a high energy level, so would be an excellent choice.
However, I suspect what will happen is that the male majority will anoint Eric Bever for this position. This will be a poor
choice. Not only does Bever lack leadership experience, but he has shown himself to be unpredictable, erratic, disrespectful
and flippant during his term on the council and while on the Planning Commission.
The selection for Monahan's replacement is the very last item on the agenda for the council meeting on October 18th, so it's
very likely that it will occur near or after midnight - when few observers will be conscious, much less available for comment
on the issue. It won't make any difference, though, because the majority on the council has shown us repeatedly that they
really don't care what others think - they just go forward, doing their own thing.
Mature leadership on the Costa Mesa City Council continues to be an ethereal commodity.